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Trip Report Our Trip to the Kingdom of Tonga

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I am posting this despite the fact there seems little interest on Fodor's about this country! We had such a fantastic holiday that I feel I have to share it. There were three of us travelling from Italy: my husband and I and 23 year old son. This was a part of a long trip which included Sydney and New Zealand about which I shall report soon.
Part 1
We left Sydney on 23rd November for our 10 day trip to the Kingdom of Tonga well aware that the whale season would almost be over. In fact we were well aware of quite a lot as prior to our departure I had, as usual, gone into a lot of research about the country, its history and people. Of all the Pacific islands I had chosen to visit Tonga because it seemed to be the most unspoilt; it has the oldest Polynesian monarchy and is the only Pacific country never to have been brought under foreign rule. It also seemed to have kept itself out of the honeymooners circuit so isn’t full of big holtels and luxury resorts that turn any tropical beach into just another tropical beach resort. The only thing that seems to draw the crowds to Tonga is when the humpback whales come to give birth – July to November and we were just a little late for that. However I did not expect quite the exclusive use of the islands which we ended up enjoying.

Clutching Captain James Cook’s three journals as our guidebook we landed in Nukualofa after a 3.5 hour flight in the dead of night. We were picked up at the airport by a young lady who drove us the good half hour into town and our pre booked hotel, the Waterfront Lodge. There we were given a warm welcome by the Italian owners and their friends. It was interesting to talk to Europeans who had been living in the country for over 20 years and were so well connected and informed about everything and everybody.
The next day we were able at last to see something of our surroundings. The colonial style lodge as its name implies is right on the water in front of the small wharf with ferries to the nearby islands and a small fish and fruit market. A twenty minute walk took us into town. While we waited for our hired car to arrive (very nice and efficient Vola from Hertz) we wandered around, had a drink at the Friends’ café and bought hip T shirts from Blue Banana. All the people we met spoke excellent English and were very friendly though somewhat larger than us!
Nukualofa town is not brimming with must-sees so as soon as our bright red jeepette was ready we drove off for a tour of Tongatapu as the main island is called.

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